Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Palpable tension and fear of the unknown have continued to unsettle residents across Delta state following the increasing upsurge of kidnappings, robberies and alleged under aged raping.
Investigation revealed that in the last six months, the state had recorded 63 cases of kidnap with six out of the victims allegedly murdered in cold blood for their refusal to play along their abductors’ demands, while 16 condemned to death by hanging and 40 others jailed at various prisons in the state.
Statistics obtained from the police had shown that many of the kidnap cases were recorded at the regarded flash points: Issele Azagba Community, Ogwashi Uku, Asaba, Illah Ugbolu express way, Warri, Effurun, Uvwie, Ughelli Communities, Burutu, Patani communities, Isoko South and North communities and Issele Uku Community, especially during night fall and at gunpoint.
It was gathered that the hoodlums’ modus operandi is usually survey allegedly carried out on their targets through their relations for negotiable amount of money and after successful operations are rewarded in huge sums of money.
Although the police claimed to have been working very hard to curtail the upsurge, but sources alleged that the police were not doing enough to ensure residents sleep with their two eyes closed in the state, especially in the last six months when kidnappings across the state were in hue and cry.
Further investigation revealed that these hoodlums have found Delta operations comfortable and have been making fortunes through the kidnapping of highly placed politicians, their wives, top shot Deltans, Businessmen and Women, Lawyers, School Heads, Teachers and heavy weight transporters in an orchestrated Jamboree.
Sources said the kidnappers are often heavily armed with sophisticated guns and in waiting vehicles, they forced their victims into them and drive away to unknown destinations from where they will establish ransom with their relations with stern warnings to report to the police or else the victims would be killed.
For instance, Delta state Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa Sister In-law was recently kidnapped by six-man gang of Kidnappers around the Inter bua round about in Asaba while she was driving home from a nearby GTB Bank and after several days in captive, she was released after a ransom of N100 million was allegedly paid to secure her release
While she was held captive, the kidnappers were alleged to have warned the state Governor to cooperate with them or found his In-law killed, a situation Journalists were spoken to except few ones in the state.
Another one was a Lawyer Identified as Barr Nwanshide who was abducted along Okpanam road in Asaba on his way home by these rampaging Kidnappers and after keeping him in their custody for weeks, they were said to have established a contact for ransom with his relations and after making payments of N4million, he was killed and his corpse dumped in the bush where his relations later discovered him after a long search
The state Chief Judge, Justice Marshall Umukoro who spoke to Journalists in Asaba last week, said that the convicted persons were found guilty in many of the counts preferred against them, adding that the state Judiciary will continue to dispense Justice unhindered and in accordance with the laws.
While urging youths across the state to shun illegal activities that will lead to crimes, Justice Umukoro lamented the involvement of youths in kidnappings, robberies and ritual activities and appealed to parents to ensure their children are checked with cautions against crimes.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was recently kidnapped around Issele Azagba along Asaba Benin express way but was subsequently released after paying ransom of N3million for his release.
On last Monday, suspected Fulani herdsmen allegedly kidnapped five teachers including the Head of the school, Azagba Mixed Secondary School in the early hours.
The incident which has currently put the school under lock and key, while the teachers and students have consequently been sent home indefinitely for them to recover from the trauma that enveloped them during which the hoodlums stormed their school.
It was gathered that five of the teachers, the principal, two vice principals and two classroom teachers, were taken away by the suspected kidnappers who stormed the school in a commando style, shooting sporadically as the teachers and the students scampered for their dear lives.
Those kidnapped were however rescued by a combined team of the police, soldiers and Issele Azagba Community vigilante group after a gun battle with the suspects in the bush as one of them was arrested
One of the teachers Identified as Oriahi who sustained gunshot injuries during the battle with the kidnappers was said to have died on Tuesday morning, while four others are currently being treated at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Asaba for same gunshot injuries
Meanwhile, the corpse of one of the vigilantes who was reportedly missing after they stormed the bush to rescue the victims, was however recovered with bullets’ wounds while the development still remain shocking to elders of the Community, especially the state government who had since swung into action to avert reoccurring decimal in the school and others
Police Commissioner in the state, Adeleke Adeyinka who confirmed the incident to Journalists in Asaba, said that the police were working very hard to ensure the fleeing suspects are arrested, adding that the 63 cases recorded were followed up to the letters and assured of the police commitment to rid of hoodlums and others in the state.
He said, “We are working very hard to ensure that all the hoodlums operating in the state have no place and we have been doing considerably well as crimes have reduced drastically in the state,” adding that the arrested suspect would arraign in court on completion of investigation.